Your love for the arts has opened doors to acting, writing, and directing your productions. Tell us about your background.
A: I came from a background of writers. My mother Patricia White and my aunt Shirley were two big writers in my family and always shared their stories with me and I became fascinated with it. I found it amazing how they could build a story, and make it come to life. I came from a creative background from being an only child. I've seen a lot and been through a lot. Being an only child gave me lots of time to reflect, write, and practice my craft. I can't see myself doing something else. I love creating and teaching others the craft I fell in love with.
Tell us about 'Mr. Nickels Unisex Shop.'
A: "Mr. Nickels Unisex Shop" is my baby. As people would say, my firstborn. It was my very own project I created from the ground up. Was I scared of how it would be received, hell yes, but one thing I banked on was having things people could relate to. I wrote, directed, acted, and produced and have been growing ever since. What is mind-boggling is after 25 years, people still ask me if I would ever bring it back. Well to be honest I thought about doing a film or having a reunion.
What should we know about your new film, "Back in the Dayz?"
A: "Back in the Dayz" is a musical I wrote dedicated to my mother. My mother loved musicals, like 'Cotton Club,' 'Lady Sings the Blues,' Dean Martin movies, and so on. She loved a movie that included music, singing and dancing, and the way they dressed in the '50s. So, to me, it was a no-brainer to do something like this. Was I nervous? Hell yeah, because I didn't want to mess this up. I wanted to do something to show how much I missed my mother and with the assistance of Shawn Cornelius, who wrote the original songs, and the very talented singers, that made it a memorable experience. The feedback was so overwhelming as well as the love for certain beloved characters. Seeing this made my decision easy to change it from a stage play into a film. We will be revising it as a movie which will be a greater challenge. That's why I'm turning over the directing to a first-timer, Tatanisia Pearson. She has a burning desire, passion, and hard work to pull it off. This way I can revise my role as "Lucky". There will be a few faces returning along with a few new faces. I can't wait to get to work on this.
How have you evolved as an actor and writer?
A: My evolution as an actor and writer is very challenging. I've learned that although it's a God-blessed talent, it's something that can't be taken for granted. I look within myself when I try to do too much sometimes. I remember a great analogy someone told me was, "your craft is like a fine tool. If you don't keep it sharp it gets rusted or falls apart" and it's so true. There's not a day that goes by that I'm not creating something. It's a building process where you can always learn something. When people think they know it all they're truly fooling themselves. There is always something to learn.
Your movie, "Whatever it Takes" won Best Urban Underground. Tell us about the film.
A: It's an experience that will be like my first play, "Mr. Nickels Unisex Shop." This was my first film. It's a concept people don't understand that can be frightening as well as exciting. The film was a great experience with learning all the behind the scene stuff and the creating on top of being in it, but honestly, I would suggest to anyone who is doing their first to do one or the other if you have never done it before because it can be overwhelming. What do I mean? Well, trying to wear so many hats when you have only one head is what I mean. One or maybe two things at the most is what you should be involved in until you gain some experience unless you surround yourself with a ton of talent and people who have been down that path. Don't get me wrong, I loved it and grew from it, and it has helped me going forth, but for a beginner, it will make you or break you, and you will quickly know if it's for you or not.
You will soon release your first book, "She Belongs to Me." What was your inspiration? What would you like people to take away from it?
A: I'm finally going to release my first book, "She Belongs to Me." It's something that has been hidden in me for years and needed to be shared with others who have experienced what I have. I wish I could tell you more, but my people said not to give away too much. Just know it's something that reveals to women that men share heart-wrenching feelings, as much as women do during any type of loss, whether it be a child, pets, family, or loved one.
Tell us about your new short film, "Web of Lies."
A: Let's see, "Web of Lies" is my breakout film. It's the first film project that I wrote, directed, and produced as well as starred in. I know I said that it can be scary if you are doing it by yourself or if you don't know what you are doing, but I surrounded myself with people I trusted and that were experienced because there's no way to do it all by yourself. I have a great cast and advisors to help me do this Thriller. Even now with being on sets, I have learned so much more going forward. Unfortunately, this pandemic has slowed down the process but will resume very shortly. We are very close to the end and I'm very pleased with what we have shot so far. Shoutout to my very talented cast and to my hardworking staff behind the scenes that make things so much easier and more relaxing. I can't wait to get it out to watch it unfold.
Share your vision for 2021.
A: 2021 is going to be a very busy year for me. I have a book coming out, a documentary called "Perfect Comes in All Sizes,'' a series called "Paper," and the completion of "Web of Lies." So many things are coming so, expect to see a lot of me. Remember the face, remember the name, because a lot is about to change. That's something I created to reassure myself of a positive and strong year. One Love!